PNS — IN response to the ailing health of many Filipinos, especially in the countryside, and the slow recovery from the recent financial crisis, Sen. Loren Legarda pushed for the establishment of drugstores in barangays. Loren emphasized that her platform of governance is to empower Filipinos at the barangay level.
“It is our moral obligation to protect and promote the people’s right to health and instill health consciousness among them. I am aiming for the government to provide adequate social services and make essential goods, health and other social services available to every barangay at affordable costs,” stressed Loren, chair of the Senate committee on health.
Since its establishment in 2003, the Botica ng Barangay program of the Department of Health (DOH) has had 8,525 outlets in the country, providing access to low-priced generic over-the-counter and medication drugs. On the other hand, as of 2007, there are 26,386 drug stores under the supervision of the Bureau of Foood and Drugs (BFAD). However, the established boticas service only less than 10 percent of the country’s 41,943 barangays.
The Botica sa Barangay bill (SB225) seeks to address the limited number of pharmacies in the country by mandating the DOH to establish drug stores in each barangay. Primary to its goals is to provide access to adequate and affordable medicines.
Areas with high poverty and population rates and limited medical and health services will be prioritized. Geographical and socio-economic conditions of the areas will also be considered. Highest priority will be given to depressed areas. Existing public drug stores in the area shall be maintained and covered by this bill.
“Many of our citizens have no access to proper medication and treatment because of the lack or absence of pharmacies offering drugs that they need to maintain good health. It is important to note that because of our vulnerability to tropical diseases, especially the children, pregnant women and elderly, access to proper medicines must be ensured,” Loren concluded.